The league announced yesterday that it has fined Cincinnati Bengals middle linebacker Vontaze Burfict over $100,000 as a result of multiple plays from last Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, two of which that were cited being contact to the helmet against Antonio Brown and James Conner (the latter lowering the helmet).
As we have pointed out here, this is the 13th time since entering the league in 2012 that Burfict has been fined or suspended, and the 12th time being fined or suspended for conduct on the field. He served a four-game suspension to begin the 2018 season after violating the performance-enhancing substances policy.
His two previous suspensions served came at the beginnings of the 2016 and 2017 seasons, and both of them stemmed from his on-field behavior. He was suspended for three games because of his concussion-inducing hit on Brown in the 2015 postseason, served in 2016, and then again for three games as a result of a hit against the Chiefs, which was said to have been the result of a cumulative effect of other incidences.
But here is the integral part. Burfict has now already been fined twice for his on-field conduct since his last suspension for his on-field conduct, and within a calendar year. He was fined last year in late October for kicking at Roosevelt Nix’s head, and we have already discussed Sunday’s fines.
He only played in eight games between kicking Nix in the head and taking another shot at Brown’s head (among other incidents). Just eight games. He held out for half a season before committing acts on-field so egregious that they triggered a league response.
Over the course of his career, Burfict has now been fined $415,633 by the league because of his on-field behavior. That does not include the loss of salary from the games he has missed while serving suspensions for his on-field conduct. He reportedly lost $502,941 in salary for his three-game suspension in 2016, and $1,770,975 for his three-game suspension from a year ago.
In all, Burfict has now cost himself $2,689,549 since entering the league because of the fact that he routinely plays the game in an illegal manner. That does not include the four-game suspension that he served for performance-enhancing substances.
If Burfict is not on his very last life in the NFL, then something is very wrong. We are talking about a player who has cost himself over a million and a half dollars because he refuses to play in a way that is not intended to injure other people.
He has now been only fined twice, within the span of a calendar year, since the last time that he has been suspended for on-field conduct. If he even breathes out of line next, then the league is going to have a major public relations problem if he is not hit with a significant suspension. That is, one that is worse than the one they are already dealing with from this latest incident.